California Salmon Fisheries Under Restrictions Due to Projections for Low Returns

Some areas are closed for the remainder of the year in hopes of saving the Klamath River's wild stocks.

April 20, 2017
salmon fishing in California
Due to low projections for salmon in parts of California, certain zones face significant restrictions for the remainder of the year while others have been closed altogether. Doug Olander / Sport Fishing

The California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) has limited the state’s salmon fishery for the rest of 2017 due to low numbers of the fall- and winter-run Chinook salmon, according to a report from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife posted on its news website.

The entire ocean salmon fishery will be closed in the Klamath Management Zone, an area between the Oregon-California border, as will the fall-run Chinook fishery on the Klamath and Trinity rivers. A lot is due to the stock projections for fall-run Chinook in the Klamath River Basin being the lowest on record. With these actions, the FGC hopes to increase fall- and winter-run Chinook survival and reproduction.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham said survival of the fishery “is at stake” and the restrictions are “necessary to help recover this vital species.”


Inland, spring-run Chinook fishing will still be allowed through Aug. 14 on the Klamath River and through Aug. 31 on the Trinity River. Both fisheries will close for the remainder of the calendar year. However, the nearby Smith River will remain open for fall-run Chinook, and there are more salmon-fishing opportunities in southern Oregon rivers.

The ocean-salmon season north of Horse Mountain will be completely closed in 2017. All areas south of Horse Mountain opened on April 1 and will remain that way, with some restrictions.

In the Fort Bragg area, which extends from Horse Mountain to Point Arena, the season will continue through May 31 and close until Aug. 15. It will extend through Nov. 12 with a 20-inch minimum size limit for the season.


In the San Francisco area, which extends from Point Arena to Pigeon Point, the season closes April 30 under a 24-inch minimum size limit. It will reopen on May 15 through Oct. 31 with a 20-inch minimum size limit.

In the Monterey area between Pigeon Point and Point Sur, the season will be open through July 15, while areas south of Point Sur will stay upen until May 31. The minimum size limit south of Pigeon Point remains 24-inches total length.

The daily bag limit is two salmon per day of any species except coho salmon and no more than two daily bag limits may be possessed when on land. No person shall possess or bring ashore more than one daily bag limit if on a vessel in open waters. Retention of coho — known as silver salmon — is prohibited in all ocean fisheries.


For anglers fishing north of Point Conception, no more than two single-point, single-shank barbless hooks shall be used, and only one rod may be used per angler when fishing for salmon or fishing from a boat with salmon on board. Barbless circle hooks are required when fishing with bait by any means other than trolling between Horse Mountain and Point Conception.

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